Dr James Truchard, CEO, president and cofounder of National Instruments, has been elected to membership of the National Academy of Engineering, in the USA, which is widely considered to be the highest honour that can be given in the engineering profession. Truchard was recognised for "creating 'virtual instrumentation,' which enabled the rapid development of customised measurement systems in industry, academia and classrooms." He is one of only 156 Texans to be elected in the history of the Academy. There are 2217 members in total.
Dr Ben Streetman, Dean of the College of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, Truchard's alma mater, said: "I am excited to congratulate my friend and colleague Jim Truchard for achieving this great honour. His pioneering of virtual instrumentation has revolutionised the test and measurement industry. Furthermore, his contributions to engineering education worldwide have been substantial. In recent years, the work NI has done in classrooms with Lego robots has given young people a taste of engineering design and graphical programming."
Since its founding in 1976, National Instruments has pioneered virtual instrumentation, an innovative approach to embedded design, industrial control and test and measurement that combines commercial off-the-shelf technologies with innovative software and hardware. In 1986, National Instruments introduced the revolutionary software product LabVIEW, which challenged traditional approaches to programming with graphical development similar to flowcharting. LabVIEW helps engineers and scientists in diverse industries to quickly produce a wide range of applications.
Over the past 20 years, LabVIEW has evolved from a desktop instrument control and data acquisition tool into an integrated design, control and test platform for desktop, industrial, embedded and handheld applications. Because the software employs an intuitive graphical programming environment, it is used by professional engineers and students alike, at both school and university levels. In 2006, NI and Lego collaborated to create the LabVIEW Toolkit for Lego Mindstorms NXT, in which children as well as expert programmers can use a drag-and-drop programming environment to program their Lego Mindstorms NXT robots.
This latest honour reinforces Truchard's role as an industry leader. He was recently named a Distinguished Graduate of The University of Texas College of Engineering and in 2003 was elected to the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences. In 2002, a leading electronics publication, Electronic Design, inducted Truchard into its Engineering Hall of Fame and in 2001, a global market consulting firm, Frost & Sullivan, honoured him as the CEO of the Year for the test and measurement industry. In addition, Worth magazine named him one of the best CEOs for three consecutive years, emphasising his focus on long-term growth and innovation.
About the National Academy of Engineering
Founded in 1964, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) is the portal for all engineering activities at the National Academies, which, along with the NAE, include the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council. Academy membership honours those who have made outstanding contributions to "engineering research, practice or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature," and to the "pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education."